Ryan Samples has been farming for over 20 years, but he didn’t always want to be a farmer. He originally planned to be a high school agriculture teacher. After earning his bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Education from Utah State University, he started teaching. Ultimately, he decided teaching wasn’t the right fit and began farming instead.
Ryan is a 3rd generation farmer in Burley, Idaho. In addition to sugarbeets, he grows beans, barley, corn, and hay on his farm. His favorite part of farming is playing in the dirt, working the ground, and driving tractors. Most of all, he loves seeing the results of all his hard work at harvest each year.
In 1997, Ryan married Alisha and they have three children and one granddaughter. Alisha has been an integral part of the farm over the years. She is there to provide support and often is the parts runner for the farm. Alisha loved raising their children on the farm. It has taught their kids the importance of a strong work ethic and time management skills, and they have learned to be responsible.
In addition to helping on the farm, Alisha is a licensed Realtor and serves as the President of the Mini-Cassia Association of Realtors. Since November, they have also owned and operated Fizz Farm in Burley which serves delicious bubbly drinks and treats!
Ryan has been active in the Cassia County Growers Association for over 16 years and has served as President for a decade. He serves on the Snake River Sugarbeet Growers Association Board as well. One of the reasons Ryan has gotten so involved is he wants to be sure growers always have a voice. He is very passionate about moving the industry forward on behalf of all growers.
In addition, Ryan serves as the Chair of the Snake River Sugarbeet Research and Seed Alliance. Founded in 2012, the Snake River Sugarbeet Research and Seed Alliance is a group consisting of sugarbeet growers and representatives from Amalgamated Sugar Company. The main purpose of the Alliance is to oversee sugarbeet variety trails and facilitate the approval of new seed varieties for the Amalgamated Sugar Company growing areas. Another area for the Alliance is prioritizing and funding research that improves the sugarbeet industry. Some examples include measuring soil health, irrigation and fungicide timing to control Cercospora, and a survey of herbicide-resistant weeds in the growing region.
The work of the Snake River Sugarbeet Research and Seed Alliance is extremely important and very valuable to the industry. Growers are directly involved with selecting research projects that will help their bottom line. It is great for researchers to test an idea and determine if it would work on a larger scale.
We are grateful for producers like Ryan and Alisha that are involved in their community and dedicated to our industry! It is growers like them that keep propelling our industry forward.